When we’re fishing tidal waters Navionics are used to determine where to fish. Since each depth is identified by a separate line on the chart, look for where a lot of lines stack up together. Where those lines come together indicates the ledges and drop-offs.
Following those ledges off of the main channel helps pick areas to fish. The ledges create a trench running from the main river channel into calmer water where the fish are likely to be feeding. It is like a highway for the fish to travel.
It’s best to find different spots for each tide, but experience suggests that the incoming tide is a little better or maybe the slack tide. On the incoming the shad are definitely easier to catch and on the slack tide the larger fish are more on the move while the tide isn’t forcing them to swim harder. When the tide is stronger they are in more of a surprise attack mode where they hide behind the ledges and wait for the bait fish to come to them.
The boat is anchored facing into the tide and the rods are put out the back. One rod is cast long then the next one is cast short. The pattern is repeated until there are 10 to 12 rods out the back and along the sides in an attempt to cover deep and shallow water at the same time. When the current isn’t strong or it’s approaching slack a drift sock can be deployed to keep the boat straight.
Weights appropriate to the strength of the tide are used to keep an even spread. Sometimes it takes up to 16 ounces to hold in place. It is also a good idea to use different sizes of bait just to add variety to the menu.